And here it is, the movie you all knew was coming. The one film that is most likely on everyone’s “Must Watch On Halloween” list. The movie named after the day itself.
I’m speaking, of course, of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic: Halloween!
Year Released: 1978
Written By: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Directed By: John Carpenter
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence
There’s a black sheep in every family. One person who drinks too much, or talks too loudly, or maybe spent some time in prison for reasons no one is willing to talk about. The Meyers family is no exception, only their black sheep is named Michael and he may or may not be the boogeyman.
At the ripe old age of six years old, Michael took his first life, that of his teenage sister Judith, one All Hallows Eve in 1963. It was at this point that Michael was shipped off to a mental institution, presumably for the rest of his life. But these things don’t always work out the way we want them to, especially in horror films, and fifteen years later, Michael escapes. He returns to his family home, the scene of the crime, to see what other family members are still hanging around, waiting to be brutally murdered.
Enter Laurie Strode, typical American teenage babysitter living in the suburbs.
Michael Meyers stalks Laurie, practically living in her shadow, until Halloween night when Laurie is babysitting a young boy named Tommy Doyle. It’s then, on the fifteenth anniversary of Judith Meyers’ murder, that Michael strikes at poor Laurie Strode and her friends. Will Michael’s psychiatrist Dr. Loomis be able to stop him in time?
Halloween is the movie that launched the career of Jamie Lee Curtis, and for that, I will forever be thankful to everyone involved. But even putting that aside, even ignoring Curtis’ memorable performance, Halloween is just a fantastic horror film through and through.
The suspense builds very early on and keeps climbing until the climax of the film; The inevitable showdown between Michael and Laurie. Some of John Carpenter’s best work can be seen and felt and heard in this movie and it still holds up, nearly thirty five years later.
Whether it’s the jump scares, or the quick glimpses of Michael Meyers over Laurie’s shoulder, or the music, this movie keeps you feeling terrified from the first scene straight through to the closing credits.
As far as makeup/effects go, it’s mostly just blood work, but it’s good. The most memorable part of Halloween’s antagonist, Michael Meyers, is of course the stark white mask. Which was actually a Star Trek Captain Kirk Halloween mask coated with white spray paint, so really it’s been an albino William Shatner that has been scaring you since you were a kid. Go figure.
The writing, the memorable performances put forth by both Jamie Lee Curtis and noted James Bond villain Donald Pleasence, and even the original score (also composed by John Carpenter) all work together to make this film genuinely creepy and can also all be listed as reasons that we all keep coming back to this movie, year after year.
Should You See It:
For the love of all that is scary, yes. If you’ve ever celebrated Halloween, but have never seen the movie named after it, I suggest you do so. Dim the lights, pull the covers up to your chin, and make sure to have plenty of candy on hand.